A gathering of Africa’s top media owners this week called on the continent’s leaders to give priority to development of a professional and ethical media, and boost the role of the media in support of development, according to a press release.
The meeting, held in Johannesburg, called on African governments to view a vibrant and plural media as a vital cog in the development of Africa.
However, the media leaders drawn from across the continent expressed concern over the deteriorating environment for media, citing enactment of legislation in some countries which restricts press freedom, as well as a deplorable trend of intimidation, imprisonment and brutal murder of journalists, notably in the Horn of Africa.
This trend is in stark contrast to the principles of press freedom enshrined in the Windhoek Declaration and the African Charter on People’s Rights, which governments have a duty to uphold.
The media owners invited African Heads of State, who are due for an African Union meeting in Banjul, the Gambia from June 25-July 2 to partner the African media in creating an investment climate that promotes the emergence and growth of a media that is responsive to Africa’s needs.” In particular, they urged Heads to back cross border media investments on the continent.”
The media owners concluded that Africa’s renaissance depends on African people finding their voices via an independent, vibrant and plural media. A media free from legislative and constitutional constraints was central in empowering Africans to develop ideas and policies, and make the political and economic choices needed to generate irreversible progress of the African continent.
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